Date From : Apr 06, 2021To : Apr 07, 2021
Envisioning the post-pandemic metropolis: Learnings from Mumbai, India and Tel-Aviv Israel

April 6, 2021

12 pm- 7.30 pm (Indian Standard Time) & 9.30 am - 5 pm (Israel Standard Time)

About the event

Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya are hosting a one-day virtual global conference which will focus on how metropolises are globally evolving, implementing new action plans, moving away from traditional tools, and building a post-pandemic world.

This conference will explore this shift, which is physical, social, and economic, through the experiences of the Mumbai and Tel-Aviv metropolitan regions. These nationally important and globally connected conurbations have had to adapt to the health and socio-economic crises brought about by the pandemic. They do so by creating new paradigms that, although growing out of local contexts, might be globally applicable.

Driven by four themes of technology, socio-economic inclusion, the built-environment, and the climate emergency – all of which impact metropolitan resilience – the discussions will explore how post-pandemic metropolises are planning better and creating more resilient and sustainable communities.


12:00 – 01:00 PM (Indian Standard Time)| 09.30 – 10:30 AM (ISRAEL STANDARD TIME)


Resetting and Recovering Metropolitan Regions

Metropolises around the globe host large populations in high densities – creating economic opportunities and innovation alongside a range of challenges and vulnerabilities. The coronavirus pandemic in particular has exposed a multiplicity of shortcomings in how metropolitan regions are planned and managed. They thus require renewed, adaptive, and holistic approaches for resetting long-held paradigms, remediating present pressures, and building resilience for the future. What are the key priorities that metropolises need to address in light of the pandemic, as well as to account for the larger goals of resilience and sustainability? What new paradigms should guide metropolises and how can they be infused with greater inclusivity and accountability? This inaugural session will set the tone to understand the situational overview and rationalise the way ahead for metropolises.

Welcome remarks: 

Akshay Mathur, Director, ORF Mumbai Prof. Yoav Yair, Dean, School of Sustainability, IDC Herzliya

Special Guests:

Ron Malka, Israel ambassador to India Sanjeev Singla, Indian ambassador to Israel


R. A. Rajeev, Commissioner, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority Dalit Zilber, General Manager, Israel Planning Administration


Sayli Mankikar, Senior Fellow, ORF Mumbai
01:30 – 02:30 PM (Indian Standard Time)| 11.00 AM – 12:00 PM (ISRAEL STANDARD TIME)


Health, Tech and Pandemic Management

Mumbai’s public health system got ripped open during the pandemic, exposing its pre-existing weaknesses. But it also gave an opportunity to boost the role that digital technologies can play in bridging gaps in this sector. E-health start-ups mushroomed exponentially due to the lockdowns and social distancing protocols. While the private sector has seen a quick migration to online consultation, treatment, medical test booking and medicine delivery, the public sector struggles in India, due to lack of data and infrastructure. Several smart cities in India took a leap overnight during the pandemic and turned their control rooms into war rooms for COVID tracking and tracing and now for immunisation. In the Tel Aviv metropolitan region, the divergent impacts and responses to the pandemic by different municipalities and communities have exposed longstanding gaps in capabilities and attitudes. While national authorities (including the Israel, Defence Forces) filled in some of these gaps, cities had to step up and shape their unique strategies – experimenting with new approaches to information technologies, big data, and health tech. How can municipal and metropolitan governments ensure the delivery of accessible, affordable, and convenient healthcare to every citizen? What is the role of the private sector in the affordable health space due to hi-tech medical interventions? Could there be a comprehensive tech-led pandemic protocol that is constructed for effective, inclusive management and response? This panel explores how both the public and private health sector, alongside municipalities and metropolitan authorities, can be brought together to play a significant role in leveraging technology for healthcare


Dr.  Aparna Hegde, Associate Professor (Hon), Urogynaecology, Cama Hospital and Social Entrepreneur & Founder, ARMMAN  Dr. Sameer Unhale, Joint Commissioner, Directorate of Municipal Administration, Government of Maharashtra  Colonel Ariel Blitz, Dan District Commander, Home Command, Israel Defense Forces Eyal Feder-Levy, CEO & Co-Founder, ZenCity


Mitali Mukherjee, Fellow, Observer Research Foundation

Panel Introduction:

Berjis Driver, Intern, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai
03:00 – 04:00 PM (Indian Standard Time)| 12.30 – 13:30 PM (ISRAEL STANDARD TIME)


Advancing Social Inclusion and Equity Across the Metropolis

With the pandemic further affecting aspects of access, capability and equity, metropolises will require greater people-centrism at all scales of service delivery, policy, and decision-making processes. In Mumbai, reverse migration trends and continuous demand for residential space have indicated the need to account for informality, homelessness, and poverty, to ensure enhanced earning potentials, and to provide better and more equitable access to urban-metropolitan infrastructures and services. In the Tel Aviv metropolitan region, too, socio-economic disparities between different groups played a significant part in the pandemic. There were challenges concerning vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people living in poverty and overcrowded conditions, the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities, migrants and asylum seekers. Thus, in both metropolises social inclusion is seen as a critical component not only of any immediate pandemic intervention but also of future urban solutions. What are some of the strategies through which inclusionary, high-quality spaces can be augmented for the marginalized in metropolises? How can inclusivity be supported through suitable financing and reinvigorated policies? How can gender and age equality be addressed through metropolitan planning and ancillary efforts? This panel sheds light on fast-tracking social inclusiveness in metropolises as the effects of the pandemic continue.


Dr Ramanath Jha, Distinguished Fellow, ORF Mumbai Dr Amita Bhide, Dean, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai Sharon Melamed, Head of Social Services Administration, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality Dr Zoe Gutzeit, Director of Migrants Department, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI)


Dr. Nathan Marom, Senior Lecturer, School of Sustainability, IDC Herzliya

Panel Introduction:

Aniket Pawar, Intern, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai
04:30 – 05:30 PM (Indian Standard Time)| 2.00 – 3:00 PM (ISRAEL STANDARD TIME)


Challenges and opportunities for the built environment in the metropolis

The association between the pandemic and urban conditions has reset many long-held planning paradigms. Lockdowns and social distancing requirements have imposed constraints but also opened creative opportunities in how we use urban public spaces and streets. They also created growing needs for green spaces and renewed appreciation for urban nature. At the same time, the pandemic fueled the demand for lower density areas, leading to suburban metropolitan growth and downward trend in once hot real estate areas. The demand for affordable housing is on the rise. Remote working has encouraged satellite offices while creating large vacant commercial spaces seeking alternative uses. Online consumption has also led to reduced demand for retail spaces, while health concerns are calling for sensor-based technologies in built environments. What new urban frameworks need to be drawn to allow people to feel secure in streets and public spaces, while commuting and in workspaces? What approaches should metropolitan and municipal governments adopt to help curtail housing affordability issues, while facing steep revenue declines? How can large chunks of vacant commercial spaces be reimagined and repurposed? This panel will explore the new trends emerging in urban design, planning and real estate management and derive how urban and commercial spaces can be used in a smarter, more sustainable manner.


Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, President, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), Managing Director, Hiranandani Group of Companies Shreya Gadepalli, South Asia Director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) Daniela Paz, Founder and CEO of Paz Group Real Estate Consulting Maya Crabtree, Head of Environment and Sustainability Domain, Forum 15 - The Israeli Forum of Self Government Cities


Sayli Mankikar, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai

Panel Introduction:

Berjis Driver, Intern, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai
06:00 – 07:00 PM (Indian Standard Time)| 3.30 – 4:30 PM (ISRAEL STANDARD TIME)


Learning from the pandemic: Climate emergency and metropolitan resiliency

The coronavirus pandemic presented an acute, global-scale challenge to metropolitan regions. As such, it is prudent to address it as a sign of things to come. In fact, the escalating challenges of the climate crisis in coming years will likely be at a much larger scale and have far-reaching consequences for cities and their regions, requiring a complete rethinking of their modes of “business as usual”. With cities being subject to increasing intensities of extreme weather events and the pandemic further exacerbating resource scarcity, mitigating and adapting to climate change remain the most daunting challenges of our times. What are the commonalities and differences between the coronavirus crisis and the climate change crisis? What have we learned from the urban-metropolitan responses to the pandemic which could help us rise to the climate adaptation and mitigation challenges? How do we incorporate social inclusivity, spatial inventiveness, and technological innovations across these challenges? This panel looks at answering these questions through describing ongoing efforts.


Manisha Patankar Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary, Environment and Climate Change, Government of Maharashtra Shruti Narayan, Director, South Asia, C-40 Yael Cohen Paran, Former Knesset Member and Co-chair of the Israeli Green Party Udi Carmeli, Chief Planner, Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality


Prof. Yoav Yair, Dean, School of Sustainability, IDC Herzliya

Panel Introduction:

Aniket Pawar, Intern, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai
07:00 – 07:30 PM (Indian Standard Time)| 4.30 – 5:00 PM (ISRAEL STANDARD TIME)


Dhaval Desai, Vice-President, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai Tamar Akov, Adjunct Faculty, IDC Herzliya

Vote of thanks:

Sayli Mankikar, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation Mumbai